FIRST, TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU CAME INTO DESIGN?
SINCE I WAS A KID MY PARENTS ALWAYS TAUGHT ME the importance of style and beauty in all aspects of life. My dad talked to me about the difference between good and bad interior design and everything that goes into renovating. He also taught me good fashion sense and inspired me to wear stylish clothes, which made a great impact on me. Even though I did not do anything related to design in my teenage years, I was still drawn to the importance of strong visual language.
The first thing that came to my mind when I met a designer at my first job was “wow she works at her computer and earns money!”
I have always had an assistant position wherever I worked – creative agencies, video production companies, etc. I was the one to meet with people, drive to the location, work outside, run and organize the whole set. When I thought of design, I did not make the job seem easier in my head, but I knew it was close to the type of work I wanted to achieve. I was originally caught up in the routine of assisting and did not even dare to think of design. At that moment, my life very much depended on my salary so I could not make a sudden career change.
ONE DAY I GOT A CALL FROM A PRODUCTION COMPANY who shot commercials and a television series. They offered me a nice position as an assistant again. When I started, I learned that every pitch in the production is accompanied by the presentation of the director. I dug into this field and found out that it is a nice sphere to work in on the weekends and in the evenings. The thing is – such presentations need good design skills, which I needed to develop a skillset for. I was lucky because my colleague was a designer and she taught me the process. This is the shortest version of how I got into the director’s presentations sphere.
DID YOU LEARN EVERYTHING BY YOURSELF? COULD YOU RECOMMEND YOUR FAVORITE COURSE FOR BEGINNERS IN PRESENTATION DESIGN?
AS FOR DESIGN PROGRAMS, I learned everything by myself; spending many hours daily on learning the interface and tools of Adobe Indesign, Ready Mag, and Keynote. I could not really afford to pay for the courses and moreover, I did not really have time for them. I had to do my amateur presentations and get my foot in the door as soon as possible.
I would suggest watching YouTube tutorials and taking some courses if you feel like they are going to help you. For me personally, I felt like I could be better off on my own and that delivered results.
DO YOU REMEMBER OUR VERY FIRST PROJECT? HOW DID YOU GET IT?
FOR SURE. I THINK I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT PROJECT because I went blank for a minute or two after realizing the whole thing was on me. Never before was I responsible for the whole presentation myself. I always had people who helped me out – but there I was alone. I remember I did the whole thing in two days which was a pretty rough timing. I put all my knowledge and skills into that project, and it might not look that good now, but back then it seemed cool to me. And apparently to my client and the director himself. They took my presentation without even commenting on it and the day after I was told that the director won the pitch with the help of my presentation. I realized then that it was the start of it all.
Here you can see the part of this very presentation.
Presentation for Samsung
And the commercial that the winning director shot.
WHAT IS YOUR WORK PROCESS?
AS FOR, NOW I AM RUNNING A TEAM OF DESIGNERS. We have a great number of projects, which I myself can not physically take alone so I only take huge projects such as Apple, Samsung, Snapchat, New Balance, Nordstrom, etc.
Usually, I lead all the clients and am responsible for the whole communication system between them and my designers. I find this solution the best as I have studied and worked in different cultural groups and I feel good about communicating with people from around the globe.
I AM A RESPONSIBLE PERSON and I think it is one of my best qualities that clients really value. The projects will always be done in a timely manner, something I am teaching my team.
My team works as visual researchers and layout designers. They each get approximately the same amount of work. I love when the team is all set with projects and everyone’s working together.
Presentation for Apple Music
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WAY TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL ARTIST? TALENT, WORKING HARD, CONNECTIONS, LUCK, OR SOMETHING ELSE?
MY FATHER TAUGHT ME HARD WORK from when I was ten years old. So yes, I truly believe that it is the only key to success – there is no other. The hard work leads to projects, to connections and necessary people. It leads to inspiration and talent, not the other way around. To me working 24/7 has always been the key to growth and career.
YOUR DREAM CLIENT?
I HAVE A NOTE ON MY LAPTOP with the list of clients that I dream of working with. One of them is Netflix. I had an opportunity through a connection to work on a few designs for them and gained a lot of knowledge from it. Even though our team did not win the project, I am this much closer to my goals.
I guess I never really thought about dream clients until I was lucky enough to work with Snapchat, for instance. I just recently handed in the project and from that moment on I thought: I need a list of all the cool companies I want to work with.
Presentation for Snapchat
YOU NEED TO READ A PERSON VERY WELL IN YOUR WORK. WHAT IS THE WAY A PRODUCER SEES THE RESULT. DO YOU HAVE TIPS ON HOW TO UNDERSTAND IT BETTER BEFORE YOU START YOUR WORK?
I GUESS THE MAIN THING IS TO TALK, communication is key. The more questions you ask the more answers you will get. The more answers you will get the bigger picture/plan you create. That is what helped me throughout the years.
It is not possible to read someone’s mind but no one prohibited talking. My clients love when I ask questions, give ideas, discuss things, it gives them the security in me and my team.
Of course, seeing my clients’ previous work always inspires me as well and gives me the right direction to go in.
Apart from that, I think we sync through the work, portfolio, and project examples. It is easy for a client to say ‘I want this’ when he or she sees examples. And for my team it is easy to get the style from such choices.
DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR MAIN FAULTS IN THE BEGINNING? HOW DID YOU SOLVE THEM?
I TOOK TOO MUCH WORK in at one time when I could not really handle it all. I used to take two projects at a time when I did not have my team and all work was on me. I could not sleep for days but projects were completed. Sometimes they were not dream projects, but I had more money so I was happy. Soon I realized that those who were not satisfied with the quality never came back to me for another presentation.
I think at that moment I came back down to earth and realized I either need to delegate the tasks or I keep losing clients and my reputation. So, I hired the team and it was the best decision I have ever made.
TO ME THE WHOLE BUSINESS PROCESS IS much more interesting than just design. I prefer to do both and be responsible not only for the nice picture but for the strategy as well.
HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR FIRST CLIENT? WHAT IS YOUR RECIPE FOR SUCCESS?
THE ONLY METHOD I USED AND THAT HELPED ME IS to tell everyone around you what you do. Social networks are the most helpful thing now. You post a story on Instagram and the next day you might get a client. It is quick like that! It might take time in some cases but socializing is the key to developing your brand and letting the world know it needs you.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN PERSONAL SKILLS A PRESENTATION DESIGNER SHOULD HAVE IN YOUR OPINION?
THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE VERY NARROW and therefore not many people can get the job and survive in that atmosphere. People might think differently but to me the only thing that is needed here is not even design – it is the ability to work hard and to learn new things. Once you let yourself close your laptop and decline the weekend job, that is when you lose. I know many designers who work all around the world and all of them are super client-oriented, have excellent communication skills, and stress-resistant. However, I have also met those who treat clients like their buddies and do not really show their desire to help with the projects. I would advise to always stay afloat, keep the energy within, and not be afraid of extra hours.
Presentation for Cartier
WHAT ARE THE MINUSES OF BEING A FREELANCER AND DO YOU HAVE YOUR TIPS ON HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM?
THE ABILITY TO WORK FROM HOME has its pros and cons. The good part is that you do not have to stress about your way of working. The bad thing is the time limits are erased. It is easy to get caught up into the 24/7 work style, especially when living without a family. It can be hard to stay afloat, your energy levels fall, and work processes start moving slower. So, to me, the important parts are balancing rest and being active which never cease to help me.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNER?
ONE OF MY FAVORITE DESIGNERS IS Andrew Bannecker, he is an illustrator from New York with a great sense of style. I do not illustrate myself but his works always inspire to not be scared of colors and new style ideas. I usually share his projects with my team and students, and everyone is always in awe.
ARE YOU ALWAYS SATISFIED WITH THE FINAL RESULT?
MOST OF THE TIME YES, the directors I work with trust me and my eye for art direction. However, there is this one specific designer who for some reason always wants me to change the design according to his vision. Of course, I do it because he is a valuable client of mine, but we do have our disagreements – it happens.
Presentation for Misura
WHAT IS THE FAVORITE PART OF YOUR WORK?
I LOVE RECEIVING EMAIL LIKE ‘WE WON’ and three exclamation marks at the end. Such letters energize me and prove to me that my team and I are needed.
IDENTITY OR TRENDS?
BOTH! I LOVE DISCOVERING NEW TRENDS and mixing and matching them with my own style and vision. I am constantly on the lookout for design websites – trying to find the next thing that inspires me. It helps me to develop my vision and to know the news in the design world. Such things are always valuable to clients.
WHAT ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE YOURSELF IN THE VERY BEGINNING?
TO WORK HARDER. I guess there is never a certain limit of how much one can work. I have recently watched ‘The Last Dance’ on Netflix and there was this one quote that Mr. Jordan said that caught me – ‘It’s very hard for that to happen but it’s not impossible’.
HARD WORK IS MY LIFE MOTTO! To my younger self: I would advise to roll up my sleeves and start working at an even younger age.